We were recently contacted by Stephen Pennells from the Jubilee Debt Campaign and we invited him to write for the newsletter to tell us more.
Ending the Great British Debt Trap
By Stephen Pennells, Jubilee Debt Campaign, Manchester
There are many causes of household poverty but one of them is the debt trap that faces people who don’t have the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ or savings to fall back on and find themselves forced to borrow at the most expensive rates when a crisis occurs. This leads to another crisis. Decent and dependable work, credit unions, and responsible debt counselling are needed, but so also are structural changes.
Although Wonga is in administration, they still take payments, while others eagerly pick up their business. Moreover, regulation of credit cards, overdrafts, doorstep lending, rent-to-own and other businesses remains light, both in terms of interest rates and conditions.
People who can’t shop around may pay considerably more for goods when they buy from BrightHouse or are lured by the perceived prospect of savings, into opening interest-charging accounts with high street stores.
Jubilee Debt Campaign, campaigning with others in the ‘End the Debt Trap Campaign’, demands an end to predatory and exploitative lending, a write-off of personal debt due to irresponsible lending and deep structural economic injustice, and changes in economic policy so that people don’t need to rely on borrowing to make ends meet.
Several Manchester councillors and local MPs (Andrew Gwynne, Mike Kane, Afzal Khan and Jeff Smith) have supported the campaign, as has the Dean of Manchester.
We’re calling on the Chancellor to end rip-off lending by capping interest rates and charges for loans, credit cards, overdrafts, rent-to-own and doorstep lending; and set out how the goverment plans to help families who are stuck in the debt trap.
JDC is a small NGO with a dedicated but overworked staff in London. To change mindsets and break the chains of domestic debt snaring over 18% of Greater Mancunians, the campaign needs you not only to sign, but also to take it to family and friends, workmates, union and party meetings, religious congregations and community centers. You can join on our website
Politicians and leaders need to be encouraged to raise their voices and reminded to keep on doing so. JDC will gladly provide materials such as cards and petition forms or help with this and can be contacted by email or on 0207 324 4722.